Friday Night Gaming: Homesteaders!

Homesteaders is a game designed by Alex Rockwell and published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It supports 2 to 4 players, aged 12 or older and takes 90 minutes to play.

I have the first edition of the game which has an incredibly crappy set of cardboard components and board. This was before TMG started focusing on quality components for their games. The second edition (the above image) fixed these issues and a third edition just finished on Kickstarter. I would have backed this version, but funds are what funds are and I couldn't fit it into the budget.

Homesteaders has a little bit of everything. You're auctioning for building rights, buying buildings (tiles), building your homestead, and using workers to generate resources. There is a lot of resource management going on and is the only way you can build in the game.

The first edition comes with a bunch of wooden tokens, which increases it's component quality slightly, but the cardboard components are just awful. There are miscuts, cuts that didn't go all the way through the punch board, and the main board is simply cereal box quality cardboard that isn't mounted well in the back.

In place of the cardboard coins, I used plastic quarters instead. They improved the game quite a bit. I am looking to replace the cubes with cowboy miniatures (that I got in Deadlands), and I'm looking for ways to replace the victory points and other punch board components.

The game itself is pretty fun to play. You bid on a tile that tells you which type of building you can buy (commercial, industrial, special or residential) and winning the first spot gets you the first player tile. After you add a building to your homestead, you can use your cowboy meeples to activate their powers during income phase. Oh, and if you can't win any of the auctions, you can move your cube up the railroad track in order to gain benefits that way.

The game is rather quick, taking place over 10 rounds. The auction tiles tell you which round you're in (the first stack) and which buildings you can buy. The first four rounds is the frontier phase (I believe), the second four are the town phase, and the last two are the city phase.

The game suffers from repetition since the first stack is always the same. The second and third stacks are always the same as well, but the tiles in those stacks are shuffled according to their phase.

The person who generates the most victory points at the end is the winner!

I did not win this game ;) TB won with 51 points. PM came in second with 45. I scored 40. And AM followed up with 37.

Overall, this is a fun city building game that has a wild west theme applied to it. I wouldn't say that it will last the test of time, but it's great to pull out for a quick game. Though, it does take about 90 minutes to two hours, depending on how versed in the game the players are.

Rulebook link:

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